Work Zone safety protects the public and most of all workers from accidents. What are Work Zones? These are construction areas where construction workers are working in performing building and repairing, sidewalks, roads and bridges. In these areas there are signs, cones, barrels and lane information to keep the construction worker safe as well as the motorist. Motorist need to be extremely cautious and pay close attention when driving past or thru work zone areas.
In my experience working in road or construction zone areas, I continue to notice some motorists in cars, vans, trucks and other vehicles who are negligent and have a disregard while driving through these work zone construction areas. The fines are doubled. If a construction worker is injured or killed because of the motorist’s negligence this could result in a lawsuit, possible jail time and ongoing guilt.
According to the Centers of Disease Control, “Roadway work zones are hazardous both for motorists who drive through the complex array of signs, barrels, and lane changes and for workers who build, repair, and maintain our Nation’s streets, bridges, and highways. The Federal Highway Administration reports fatal crashes in construction and maintenance work zones dropped from 716 in 2008 to 667 in 2009. Texas, Florida, and California ranked as the three States with the most motor vehicle crash fatalities in work zones. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports 101 worker fatalities in work zones in 2008, 116 in 2009 and 103 (preliminary data) in 2010. Here too, Texas and Florida ranked one and two, followed by Pennsylvania, Illinois and Georgia. Transportation incidents accounted for 72 percent of roadway work zone fatal occupational injuries in 2010 (preliminary data)”.
Drivers need to keep in mind what it would be like if someone drove through their workplace at highway speeds — only a few feet. They don’t stand a chance if they are hit.
The California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) wants the motorists and the worker who works in the work zone area to return home safely. The following tips are to help all to stay safe while traveling through maintenance and construction work zones. Motorists can make trips a little safer by remembering the following Work Zone Safety Tips.
• Do not speed in work zones; obey the posted speed limits.
• Stay Alert! Expect the unexpected.
• Watch for workers; drive with caution.
• Don’t change lanes unnecessarily.
• Avoid using mobile phones while driving in work zones.
• Turn on headlights so that workers and other drivers can see you.
• Be especially alert at night while driving in work zones.
• Expect delays, especially during peak travel times.
• Allow ample space between you and the car in front of you.
• Anticipate lane shifts, and merge when directed to do so.
• Be Patient!
By respecting the construction worker’s environment, identifying reasonable foreseeable risks, with controls and measures, in the work zone areas, can minimize exposure to hazards that are likely to cause injury or death.
Center for Disease Control (CDC): – Highway Work Zones
Work Zone Safety.Org
Union Tribune San Diego News – Contractors call for better highway safety – Written by Michelle Brier
Copyrighted 2012 by Matthew J. Key from his forthcoming book “The Safety Corner”.